Clio is definitely one of the dogs to whom I am tied. Clio is about 8 or 9 years old. We are not really sure. She likely came from a backyard breeding nightmare. She has several health issues including being born blind. It looks like her back legs were put on backward or she was constantly kept in a crate, from birth, and her legs could not grow properly. If you look at the photo below you can see how her one back leg looks backwards. We had the other leg fixed. The vet said not to bother getting this once fixed unless it causes her pain and he feels it doesn’t because she is able to use it and it is not atrophied.
Clio came to us via the Vancouver Animal Shelter. She had been thrown from a moving vehicle on Marine Drive and luckily someone noticed and picked her up before she was killed. This kind man took her to the shelter. Once at the shelter was tied to someone’s desk as she was walking in circles and banging her head on things. This was likely due to the barking she could hear but could not otherwise identify. One vet also thought she may have been born with encephalitis. She does appear to have some brain damage. She behaves a bit ‘autistic like’ when you first pick her up. She seems completely overwhelmed when she is touched. Eventually, if you are calm and don’t pet her she will settle down.
Clio is not an easy dog. For the first couple of weeks she was with us she did not interact with the humans. She simply had no use for us. I think this was a result of severe neglect in her first year of life. She was semi-feral. She came around after traumatic event for her (getting groomed*) and she came to me for comfort. I held her and fed her. She was a starved dog and was very thin. She is still quite thin and we have been trying everything we can to put some weight on that dog!
Clio is profoundly blind. She gets around the house fairly well and adapts pretty easily. We moved three times since she came to live with us. She is able to find the water on her own after being shown a couple of times and generally does navigate quite well. Her blindness makes her move differently which is upsetting to the other dogs because they do not understand. Some of the dogs growl and snarl at her, most eventually figure her out.
Now, on to the title of the blog: “The Little Jack in the Box Dog.” Every time I eat something in the living room Clio finds me. It does not matter where she was in the house or what she was doing (sleeping) she will come and find me. Once she finds me, she stands beside my chair, pops her head up (waiting to be fed) and then she goes back down. This will go on for the entire time I have food. She is quite persistent and true to her breed (Shihtzu). Sometimes she ends up standing on her back legs for what seems like a long time waiting for something to be popped into her mouth.
This is Clio’s favourite pose. Whenever there is food or the potential of food her head is up because all good things come from above in Clio world. Given all of her disabilities and her rough start in life, Clio has done remarkably well. We had the option of letting her be put up for adoption after she had been with us for almost 2 years. I was going to consider her going to another home but as soon as someone was interested we adopted her instead. I did not think it was fair to make her go through acclimatizing and bonding to a new family. I was not sure she could bond to another family. Now that she has bonded to several people and she will go to new people who come to our house I see that it might have been ok for her to have been adopted. After 2 years she had become a member of the family and we could no more place her for adoption than we could anyone else. So Clio stayed and became “The Little Jack in the Box Dog.”
* She still hates to be groomed and she has perfected her biting to reinforce this lately.